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Supplements

  • The Most Popular Bodybuilding Supplements

    There are three distinct groups of bodybuilding supplements that are significantly more popular than others. Let's consider each category and identify the most popular bodybuilding supplements.

    The Most Popular Bodybuilding Supplements #1: Protein Powders

    Right up the top of the list are protein powders. A whey based protein powder is almost essential for anyone seeking to pack on a significant degree of muscle tissue. A highly bio-available protein source, such as whey protein powder, is vital so your body has the appropriate nutrients available to synthesise muscle tissue following a workout.

    So what are the most popular protein powders? Without doubt, the Optimum 100% Whey is the number one seller in our online store. This is because is a cost-effective and very high quality protein powder, available in a variety of great tasting flavours.

    Dymatize have a very popular rival, the Dymatize Elite Whey. This product has a similar composition to the Optimum brand, but is slightly more cost effective.

    If you're looking for a pure WPI, which provides a high quality whey protein that absorbs extremely rapidly, our best seller in this category is the AST VP2. A very high quality protein powder with an exceptional worldwide reputation.

    The Most Popular Bodybuilding Supplements #2: Creatine

    Creatine is such a popular product because it can enhance the force potential that a muscle can generate prior to muscular failure. Whilst it doesn't directly assist in muscle synthesis, it does aid in overloading the muscle during a workout.

    Our number one selling creatine supplement is BSN No Xplode, which is a mix of creatine, nitric oxide and various stimulants.

    If you're seeking a pure creatine monohydrate powder, the Dymatize Creatine is our most popular creatine supplement, being both cost effective and providing a high quality powder.

    The Most Popular Bodybuilding Supplements #3: Thermogenics

    Whilst obviously not beneficial for muscle development, fat loss is assisted through the use of effective thermogenic supplements. These supplements contain safe substances that can assist in the breakdown of fat tissue.

    AST Sports Science again has a winner in this category, the Dymetadrine Xtreme. This one has been around for a while now and has continued to thrive based on it's highly effective blend.

    The other most popular fat loss supplement that we have available is the Cytogenix RFA-X. Although a relatively new supplement, it has gained considerable exposure overseas this year. Consequently, the RFA-X falls onto our most popular list.

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    All the best in your bodybuilding endeavours and I hope this article on the most popular bodybuilding supplements has given you the direction you need!

  • The Best Creatine Supplement to Build Muscle

    There are so many creatine supplements available - which one do you choose? How do different creatine products differ? Let's take a look at some various powders and discuss the best creatine supplement for your muscle building goals.

    A quick background on creatine...

    Okay, so you've decided to take creatine. What exactly does it do? In this brief article, we are not going to discuss the specific chemical pathways that take place, but rather take a very general view. (I have written about creatine in detail previously, so you may wish to search this up). So, here goes:

    Creatine does not directly facilitate muscle growth. However, it does saturate muscle cells and thus increases your muscle's ability to lift more weight. More weight lifted can induce greater trauma leading to further hypertrophy (or muscle growth).

    As I said, a very general overview!

    So many types of creatine - what is the best form?

    With creatine monohydrate, creatine malate, creatine ethyl ester, kre-alkalyn creatine and other creatine's now available on the market, it's no wonder that the world of creatine supplementation is a confusing one!

    You may be very happy to know that creatine monohydrate is the most comprehensively researched creatine product available on the market. Other forms have minimal (and sometimes no) objective scientific backing to confirm that your investment will pay off.

    You may have heard of kre-alkalyn, which gained a lot of popularity a couple of years ago. In mid 2007, the ISSN conference in the United States concluded:

    Kre-alkalyn supplementation has no beneficial effect on creatine-to-creatinine conversion rates.

    This compared Kre-alkalyn to standard creatine monohydrate. The additional investment was a complete waste, according to these findings.

    Consequently, we do not sell kre-alkalyn supplements in our store.

    Considering that creatine monohydrate has been so well researched and practically proven to be effective for the majority of the population, this would be a great investment. Other forms of creatine may have been shown to be effective, but not to the same extent.

    Creatine - mixed or pure powder?

    So the question becomes whether to invest in a pure creatine monohydrate powder, or spend the additional money on a pre-mixed product.

    A creatine monohydrate powder, such as the Dymatize Creatine is a very popular product because:

    • It is highly cost effective
    • It has solid scientific evidence backing up it's effectiveness
    • It's a great product

    However, if you do intend on supplementing with creatine monohydrate from a pure powder, you should consider consuming it with a high glycemic index carbohydrate, such as dextrose or glucose. This causes an insulin spike that enhances creatine uptake.

    A pre-mixed creatine supplement is also a very popular choice because:

    • Most taste great
    • Many contain high GI carbs and other ingredients to enhance uptake
    • They are more convenient than standard creatine monohydrate powder

    One of our best sellers, BSN NO-Xplode does contain creatine (along with many other ingredients). Gaspari SizeOn is also a very popular creatine product.

    Other creatine notes

    Creatine won't always work for everyone, so it may be worthwhile giving this supplement a go and seeing how it works for you.

    Initially, you may experience some minor stomach discomfort, which is quite common.

    You may experience weight gain after supplementing with creatine after a few days. This is normal and is due to a greater amount of water being retained within muscle cells. Be sure to drink plenty of water when supplementing with creatine!

  • Drinking a Protein Shake After a Cardio Workout

    If you've been wondering whether you should drink a protein shake after your cardio workout, then you're not alone. This has got to be one of the most common supplementation questions out there! After all, a protein shake is there to build muscle, right? And cardio isn't effective for muscle growth...right?

    Well actually, no, these assumptions are actually quite incorrect. This could lead to the presumption that a protein shake is not necessary following a cardio workout. (You may wish to read an article I published entitled "Cardio & Bodybuilding - Good for Muscle Growth?")

    Another misconception is that because cardio is highly effective for weight loss, a protein shake could limit the "fat burning effect" by increasing the number of calories you consume.

    Let's take a step back and look at what cardio is - a form of exercise. Exercise is a means of placing physical stress on your body. You "stress" your body in order to force it to adapt to the stimulus.

    In the case of an intense cardio workout, you are forcing your fitness level to increase once the cardio session has concluded. Your body will improve its fitness so it can handle this physical stress more effectively, in case it is subject to this form of exercise again in the near future. This "overcompensation" is how you train your body to become the shape that you wish it to be.

    Considering that the major physiological changes happen after your intense workout has concluded (fat loss, fitness enhancement, muscle development etc.), it is therefore important to provide your body with the essential nutrients to facilitate these changes. Just like a house builder requires materials to build a house (bricks, wood, concrete etc.), your body requires nutrients to maximise the many changes that take place upon the conclusion of your workout.

    Following the conclusion of your intense workout, your body is dire need of nutrients. It's like a sponge and will soak up nutrients to assist in the recovery process. A protein shake is a unique tool that can provide your body with some fact acting nutrients to support this recuperation process. Two key ingredients include:

    • Fast-absorbing, high quality proteins (eg. Whey Protein Isolate, as found in many quality protein powders)
    • High GI carbohydrates (eg. Dextrose)

    Other supplements such as vitamin c/e (antioxidants), l-glutamine (immune support), free-form BCAA's (branched chain amino acids) may also be of use in your protein shake after an intense cardio workout.

    So in summary, following an intense cardio workout, you should drink a protein shake comprised of effective supplements - for nearly all goals. Not supplementing may very well inhibit your recovery, thus reducing your results. Further, you will also place your body at a heightened risk of becoming run down with a lowered immune response.

    A low-intensity cardio workout however is another story. If you are performing a low-intensity session, then a protein shake may not be necessary. This is because the degree of "stress" placed on your body from exercise is minimal.

  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and Weight Loss

    Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or CLA, is a fatty acid that is often used as a supplement to assist weight loss. How effective is this product in shedding the extra kilograms of body fat?
  • Effective Post-Workout Supplementation

    Immediately following a high intensity workout, your body is like a sponge where it soaks up nutrients to facilitate cell repair. Therefore, it is imperative to supplement effectively and immediately following your workout. This is particularly important when seeking to build muscle, but also just in recovering from a high intensity workout.

    The first vital aspect to your post-workout supplementation is to consume your protein shake immediately after the conclusion of your workout. This means as soon as you pack away your equipment and go back into the change rooms. Every minute counts - so do not wait 15 minutes to consume a protein shake when you get home. That's 15 minutes of nutrient uptake that you are missing out on!

    Within your protein shake, there should be two key fundamental ingredients:

    1. A high quality, fast absorbing protein powder
    2. A high GI carbohydrate

    The high quality, fast absorbing protein would ideally be whey protein isolate. Whey protein isolate, or WPI, is a whole protein derived from milk and has an extremely high biological value. This means that your body is able to utilise the amino acid constituents of this protein source very effectively. Whey protein isolate is also absorbed very quickly, generally within 30-90 minutes (individual absorption times will vary), meaning that the nutrients contained within can facilitate cell repair as quickly as possible.

    Meanwhile, a high glycemic index carbohydrate is imperative to assist in the uptake of amino acids (which are primarily sourced from the breakdown of the proteins contained within the protein powder). This is because a high GI carbohydrate secretes insulin, which facilitates amino acid uptake within the muscle cells. Glucose, dextrose and/or maltodextrin are highly cost effective options that has an extremely high GI, suitable for post-workout supplementation.

    In addition to these two key ingredients, there are other important ingredients for post-workout supplementation that will enhance your results, especially when seeking to recover and synthesise muscle tissue:

    1. Leucine - A very important amino acid in protein synthesis
    2. Glutamine - The most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue and which has a profound benefit for boosting your immune system
    3. Vitamin C / E - Both powerful antioxidant vitamins to again boost your immune system
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